Muscat: Business Owners in Oman have warned against repealing of Article 11 of the Foreigners Residency Law, which allowed the expatriates to change jobs freely in the country.
Article 11 of the Foreigners Residency Law said that an expatriate employee shall not be granted an employment visa if he or she has worked in Oman but has not completed two years from the date of his or her last departure. The employee can return to the same employer anytime within two years or he can join a new company, provided there is a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the last employer.
One of the decisions highlighted by the businesses is that the repealing of the article can influence demographics in various governorates and wilayats where there is more demand for employment.
It also hinted at the possibility of slowing of the productivity rates of private sector institutions due to labour leakage of skilled and trained expatriate labour to the competitors.
It also hinted at the possible flourishing of the hidden labour through the movement of the labour from the current employers, which will affect the the economic stability of the business.
It will also weaken the local companies as the foreign workers may try to establish their own companies, especially in light of the new foreign capital investment law.
There is a possibility of the leaking of confidential information of institutions to other parties or the competitor after changing the job.
It will increase pressure on the judiciary by raising the volume of cases and disputes between the worker and the employer.
It will impact businesses and their competitiveness due to the high wages of foreign workers, which will increase during the transfer of jobs.
It will also increase the number of expatriate workers in the private sector.
In this regard, Hammoud bin Salem al Saadi, head of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the South al Batinah Governorate, said that canceling Article (11) would affect the economic balance as well as slow down productivity rates of the private sector institutions, especially by leaving of the qualified and trained expatriate workers.
Foulad bin Ali al Siyabi, a member of the Board of Directors of the Chamber’s branch in the South Al Batinah Governorate, said that canceling Article 11 would lead to weakening local companies through the direction of foreign workers to establish their own companies, especially in light of the new foreign capital investment law, which does not require a minimum capital, through employing them for one of the jobs in private institutions, the worker will get to know the market and manufacture his commercial relationships with supply chains and consumers, which creates a market of his own, which confuses the competitiveness of companies in the same sector. On the other hand, the abolition will contribute to increasing pressure on the judicial system in the Sultanate by raising the volume of issues and differences between work and the employer.
A member of the Board of Directors of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry in South al Batinah South Governorate said that Article 11 of the Residence of Foreigners Act actively contributes to limiting the spread of hidden trade and consequently the negative effects of the accounted amount of money transferred outside the Sultanate." He said the new decision will negatively affect private sector institutions.
The owner of a logistics Al Badri Logistics company said, "The repealing of Article 11 will reinforce the high prices of services and products provided by companies, due to the high wages of specialised workers, the exit of a number of companies from the market, and the low level of competition. It will also impact the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises, especially with the rise in the wages of specialized expatriates, which will result in the closure of many of them and their exit from the market."